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Iphicrates (died c. 353 BC, Greek: Ιφικράτης) was an Athenian general, the son of a shoemaker, who flourished in the earlier half of the 4th century BC.

He owes his fame as much to the improvements he made in the equipment of the peltasts or light-armed mercenaries (named for their small pelte shield) as to his military successes. Historians have debated about just what kind of "peltasts" were affected by his reforms; one of the most popular positions is that he improved the performance of the Greek skirmishers so that they would be able to engage in prolonged hand-to-hand fighting as part of the main battle line, while another strong opinion posits that he worked his changes upon the mercenary hoplites that were an important factor in late 5th- and early 4th-century B.C. Greek land warfare.

A third possibility is that his reforms were limited to hoplites serving as marines on board ships of the Athenian navy.

His "Iphicratean reforms" consisted of increasing the length of their spears and swords, substituting linen cuirasses in place of heavier bronze armor, and introducing new footwear (later called iphicratids) that were easier to don and remove than previous models. In addition, he replaced the heavy hoplon/aspis with a lighter pelte that could be strapped to the forearm, freeing the left hand to help hold the lengthened spears. By these changes he greatly increased the rapidity of their movements. He...
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